The History of Wood Carvings
Wood carving uses a cutting tool or a small chisel in one hand and a mallet in the other, by hitting
the tool you then create a chipping affect that results in a wooden figure, figurine or object. These
handmade objects or ornaments tend to be rather expensive, especially compared to your
traditional wooden sculptures made with machinery, as they take more time to be hand crafted.
This practice of wooden sculpturing has been used far and wide, however, it can be hard to see the
differences due to traditional carving typically being kept outside and not last very long in parts of
the world due to weather and climate conditions.
The tendency to carve objects has been ornamental to human nature as wooden carving dates back
to remote times. However it is well know that when carving a figure out of wood, it can be harder
and less satisfactory as some woods can be particularly difficult to work with. Many people both
then and now prefer carving with real oak wood as it is durable, heavy and has a nice smooth finish,
and unlike a lot of wood, it does not have the tendency to crack, be damaged by insects or water
and even the atmosphere.
The colour of the wood has always been something people have taken into consideration when
carving; it is not always realized, especially at the present day, to which the extent the colour
choosing has on enhancing the effect of wooden-carvings and sculptures, even during the most
Examples of carving from the centuries of AD are very rare and because of this many people travel
thousands of miles just to see these glorious spectacles in their own right. If you fancy visiting one of
the oldest specimens of Christian wood carvings dating from the 5th century, then you need to
travel to Rome to the doors of the St Sabina and Aventine Hill to be precise, and here you will find
exquisite , hand crafted wooden doors with the original carvings still there, untouched and
preserved. These famous doors are made up of a large number of square panels each minutely
carved with a scene from the Old or New Testament.
Without a doubt the most skilled of carvers are from across Persia, Syria, Spain and Egypt where
they design and execute the richest panelling and excoriations onto wooden that is just exquisite. If
you have a piece of wooden carving that’s authentic, then don’t hesitate to see if it was made by an
There mosques and private house are full of the most elaborate and delicate woodwork in the
world. There style includes plenty of interlacing patterns and foliage. A lot of the traditional carvings
were made from wood and filled in with carved ivory, a famous example of this lies in the Victoria
and Albert Museum in London; the pulpit of mimbar (dating back from the 15th century) which is
from a Cairo mosque.
Whilst the carver shows a similar technique over the world, there are differ places which use slightly
different techniques of carving to produce completely individual effects. Their wood carvings and
sculpturing includes; dishes, spears and boomerangs. Each of the carving is representative of a
significant aspect of the people’s history, strong beliefs and especially their religions.
They vary between tribes and greatly depend on the materials that were available to them. Some
used beeswax, bark, roots and plant fibres!
This particular type of carving is a specialized technique that means you have to carve the wood with
extremely delicacy. You need to be cutting for both width and depth; the slices are only along the
surface area of the wood, thus meaning that you can maintain even lines which can be both straight
and curved. Using a bench knife or a trench cut here allows you to get the desired effect, in simple
terms it means that you should be using a veining tool or u- or v-gouges.
Wood Block Prints
Wood block printing techniques can be used within incised carving. While incised carving cuts out
bevelled patterns, wood block techniques will carve the same exact design in reverse – what a
pattern you could create! It is widely recommended that you should be using a good carving wood
such as basswood for this highly sensitive procedure, as other flimsy woods can easily crack and spilt
– ruining the effect.
This tradition of carving is an advanced method for cutting into the wood at certain angles to
produce a carving, again being used on the surface of the wood. This type of carving gives the effect
of the image popping out from the wood surface making it seem life like. When you combine this
technique and painting you can get a truly beautiful effect as it can give shadows and dimensions to
Unlike the other method, this can be used by many novices, it is merely triangular cuts into the
surface of the wood, and this can give you a pattern that you want, from big cut outs to small,
depending on the tools you use. Chip carving can be carried out using a variety of carving knives,
including stabbing (used in a stabbing motion to carve out chips) or detail knives. Fine chip cutting is
a technique using smaller incisions that plunge deep into wood – both are achievable by beginners,
so why not dive deeper into history and give carving your own solid oak furniture today!
Today many carvings and sculptures in rocks and trees can still be seen by the naked eye. Many
archaeologists have found many tools that people used to use in order to carve certain things and
these have been preserved and put in museums for all to see.
One of the most famous is The National Museum of Woodcarving in Custer, America! Here at the
museum, unlike many gift shops, you won’t find standard souvenirs. Many of the items for sale are
collector's items, like the large selection of hand-carved and painted wood figures – there’s
something for everyone! So why not visit today!
Bio: Karen loves nothing more than creating a house into a home and making it her own when it
comes to decorating. She enjoys having a bit of luxury in every room and her pieces of oak furniture
definitely bring that to her home. Karen has a few places where she visits when purchasing furniture,
a personal favourite of hers is Homeward Bound Interiors.